rogerfederer

Junior Member
read this entire thread and have decided to go back to qobuz. i did the free trial in 2018 (sneakily i signed up for an UK account, though i live stateside) and liked it, though there were a few glitches. i forget why i ended up with tidal. i liked the music selection and playlists a bit better and, i think, there was a price advantage. i don't have any MQA compatible DACs and haven't noticed any better sound from MQA selections on tidal. the snake oil element definitely creeps me out so voting w my $.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
read this entire thread and have decided to go back to qobuz. i did the free trial in 2018 (sneakily i signed up for an UK account, though i live stateside) and liked it, though there were a few glitches. i forget why i ended up with tidal. i liked the music selection and playlists a bit better and, i think, there was a price advantage. i don't have any MQA compatible DACs and haven't noticed any better sound from MQA selections on tidal. the snake oil element definitely creeps me out so voting w my $.
Qobuz did lower their prices in conjunction with the official U.S. roll-out, so your sneaky U.K. subscription was definitely more expensive than what you can now get on the U.S. plan, however I don't think it was any more expensive than TIDAL was, just more expensive than it is now here in the U.S.

Voting with your wallet makes sense, I applaud your choice, and I have seen many similar comments on the Roon Labs site, Reddit, YouTube, and the various audio forums. While that is a drop in the bucket compared to the paid subs that Spotify, Apple, and Amazon now have, it at least makes a statement that perhaps the enthusiast market isn't so easily misled by the gushing praises of TAS and Stereophile to name two.
 
I haven't read audio magazines for years. Never did care for Stereophile, but enjoyed TAS back in the late 70's through late 80's. Sounds like they must have got the advertiser praise bug too? I went with Tidal because it was available and I'm too lazy to change. I will make it a point to try Qobuz soon.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I haven't read audio magazines for years. Never did care for Stereophile, but enjoyed TAS back in the late 70's through late 80's. Sounds like they must have got the advertiser praise bug too? I went with Tidal because it was available and I'm too lazy to change. I will make it a point to try Qobuz soon.
TAS is not what they were when they were the little booklet type of 'zine. They're even more enamored with the difference spending money makes than Stereophile is.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
Sounds like they must have got the advertiser praise bug too?
"In almost 40 years of attending audio press events, only rarely have I come away feeling that I was present at the birth of a new world."

John Atkinson, Stereophile Editor, Dec. 2014

The above was the beginning of a non-stop onslaught of gushing praise of MQA by the audio press, even in the face of verifiable evidence and measurements to the contrary, they continue to double and quadruple down on this supposedly revolutionary digital "technology" that is nothing more than upsampling with a leaky minimum phase digital filter.

Obviously Stereophile views their customers as the advertisers, not the subscribers, but then it's always been that way to one extent or another, this is just the most egregious example in recent memory.

Apparently John Atkinson thought Bob Stuart and Meridian had actually acquired Project Genesis from Khan after he stole it from the Federation:
 

JoeThePop

Known member
Interesting. If offered in all regions it would be especially interesting to see how many subscribers (percentage) would pay for the HiFi Plus tier.


The soft launch of a new pricing structure for Tidal is upon us, starting in Australia. From Tidal’s own support pages we find details of a new set of ‘Subscription Types’:

  • Premium – $11.99 AUD a month with standard sound quality (320 Kbps)
  • HiFi – $17.99 AUD a month with lossless High Fidelity sound quality (1411 Kbps)
  • HiFi Plus – $23.99 AUD a month with lossless High Fidelity sound quality (1411 Kbps), MasterQuality audio (up to 9216 Kbps), and immersive audio – 360 Reality Audio, Dolby Atmos Music
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
Interesting. If offered in all regions it would be especially interesting to see how many subscribers (percentage) would pay for the HiFi Plus tier.


The soft launch of a new pricing structure for Tidal is upon us, starting in Australia. From Tidal’s own support pages we find details of a new set of ‘Subscription Types’:

  • Premium – $11.99 AUD a month with standard sound quality (320 Kbps)
  • HiFi – $17.99 AUD a month with lossless High Fidelity sound quality (1411 Kbps)
  • HiFi Plus – $23.99 AUD a month with lossless High Fidelity sound quality (1411 Kbps), MasterQuality audio (up to 9216 Kbps), and immersive audio – 360 Reality Audio, Dolby Atmos Music
I'm gonna guess a whole bunch of people would take them up on the CD-quality plan at lesser cost, and I guess this is price posturing too, with the likes of Spotify set to roll out their CD-quality service soon.

I'd love it if Spotify blew up the world and offered CD-quality at $9.99/mo. as that would probably result in game/set/match, unfortunately for Qobuz too, unless they can figure out how to make serving the niche hi-res crowd at all profitable.

Shit it's already match point if you look at Spotify's paid subscriber numbers, so they'll probably just leave their price at $14.99/mo. and increase the quality to that of CD, they don't really need to do anything else as they are already winning big, Apple Music is the only real thorn in their side at this point.
 

adaug

Awaiting Updated Member Status.
I'd love it if Spotify blew up the world and offered CD-quality at $9.99/mo. as that would probably result in game/set/match, unfortunately for Qobuz too, unless they can figure out how to make serving the niche hi-res crowd at all profitable.

Shit it's already match point if you look at Spotify's paid subscriber numbers, so they'll probably just leave their price at $14.99/mo. and increase the quality to that of CD, they don't really need to do anything else as they are already winning big, Apple Music is the only real thorn in their side at this point.
am i the only one who does NOT want to see the price of streaming drop? i want there to be money to pay artists. and for sound quality. and for depth of catalog. as one who is accustomed to buying cds and lps, the price of all streaming seems dirt cheap to me already.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
am i the only one who does NOT want to see the price of streaming drop? i want there to be money to pay artists. and for sound quality. and for depth of catalog. as one who is accustomed to buying cds and lps, the price of all streaming seems dirt cheap to me already.
I think you are right and it is very dirt cheap for what we are getting. I guess I should amend my statement above and say I'd love it if Spotify blew up TIDAL and MQA's world at $9.99/mo.

However the whole how they divide the pie thing is likely a bigger hindrance to the artists than exactly what is being charged, unless we just accept the idea that the large corporation record labels, and the streaming services themselves are never going to divide the pie in a fair manner, thats just unrealistic they are too greedy for that.

If we were to accept that likelihood, then yes, I guess doubling the price might help the artists, assuming that extra revenue were fairly shared with them. Oops, that too seems unlikely.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
Speaking of which, Apple Music now once again rumored to be rolling out a CD-quality HiFi subscription plan, and this time I'd believe it. This was reported by Hits Double Daily, and MacRumors.

Apple probably had this plan sitting ready on the sideline all along, waiting for such a day that they'd have to keep pace with Spotify on the sound quality issue, and now they've seen that day is coming, and are rumored ready to potentially beat Spotify to market with it.

This is supposedly set to be announced at their annual developer conference on June 7th, and if true, does relate to the topic and question posed above by @adaug . If Apple is truly looking to create a race to the bottom on price that they have the deepest pockets with which to sustain as a loss leader, then the rumor of $9.99/mo. CD quality seems plausible.

No, lowering the prices charged certainly cannot help the artists, it can only hurt them as it will just create additional pressure on big business to squeeze them.


This 9to5Mac piece would seem to further substantiate this beyond the rumor stage, evidently there is code in the Apple Music app in iOS 14.6 beta associated with "Dolby Audio", "Dolby Atmos", and "Lossless":

 
If I can make another scandalous statement, I don't know if I'm particularly bothered by whether something is lossy or not. I just care if it sounds good. As the best digital recording I ever heard was from an honest to goodness, old fashioned CD, while admittedly a very good one, from great mid 50s sources, it does get hard to wrap your head around what actually matters.

+1 A well mastered/engineered recording just sounds great. Unfortunately, many recordings are not. It's an MP3 world and we are a minority. I recall reading an article by Paul Klipsch written in the 1950s and he was bemoaning the lack of good recordings. Little has changed.
 
+1 A well mastered/engineered recording just sounds great. Unfortunately, many recordings are not.
I wondered if there is a business model in there? After reading this and Dming with @MikeyFresh I thought about how people like us might pay to have access to a database that tracks and indexes all the well mastered/well engineered recordings that also have all the actual highest bitrates available on the market.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
I wondered if there is a business model in there? After reading this and Dming with @MikeyFresh I thought about how people like us might pay to have access to a database that tracks and indexes all the well mastered/well engineered recordings that also have all the actual highest bitrates available on the market.
That would be great, although the full picture could only be painted with cooperation of the record labels, on the issue of provenance.

So they'd need to come clean on the exact source used, native sample rate and bit depth of the transfer, and the specific mastering session on any given release for anyone to really know what they were buying.

Unfortunately that is very unlikely to ever happen, because they just don't want you to know.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
They seem to like money, so if it was a serviced that was paid for, why wouldn't they want you to know?
Because they sell multiple different versions culled from multiple different sources and transferred at sometimes more than one sample rate. They'd like it if no one knew anything and they could just keep you guessing, and employ the FOMO to make you think you need to buy the most expensive "highest-res" version, or alternatively, buy the same thing more than once.

They have succeeded in that over the years, examples being multiple different masterings and reissues of the same album on CD, each one purported to be better than the next, and then launched the DVD-Audio and SACD formats to sell you the same titles all over again, and now finally with multiple different download releases at differing sample rates and sometimes with different sources used but nearly always very vague about the specifics, hoping that FOMO will make you buy the same album again and again.

If they provided clear provenance, then you would only buy any given album once, or even just stand pat with a CD or vinyl copy you already have, so they have to blur those lines to make you feel you'd miss out unless buying the newest best-est highest-res version all over again.

MQA is yet another example of that, but I don't think they ever really thought they'd sell many MQA downloads, though they do of course exist and are more expensive that a standard PCM download version of the same album. With MQA it was more a strategy of employing the FOMO with streaming, not downloads. You were only supposedly hearing "master quality" that was "approved by the artist" and "better than lossless" etc etc if you subscribed to TIDAL Masters at additional cost.
 

JP

Junior Member
If on historical releases it'd be great data to have, and the insights that could be derived from that coupled with historical anecdotes would be interesting at the least. For me that's fun stuff. Along the same vein but in a more twisted sense, there'd be a lot of fallen straw men.
 
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